Francois Fabre
La Bête du Gévaudan (The Beast of Gévaudan)

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Much has been written and published about the Beast of Gévaudan, but the two basic texts are those of Abbé Pourcher and Abbé François Fabre.

Abbé François Fabre was born in Saugues in 1854 and died in 1932. He very soon started reading all he could get his hands on at Saugues, in the municipal archives and those of the collegiate church of Saint Médard and the Hôpital Saint-Jacques . At the age of 28 he began to publish articles, and subsequently produced a series of historical works on the region. A keen photographer, he was interested in everything. Particularly noteworthy is the fact that an entire chapter of his 'Notes on the History of Saugues' was devoted to the Beast of Gévaudan.

Abbé Pourcher had already published the first historical work on this topic in 1889, but François Fabre discovered a series of documents in the archives at Clermont which Pourcher had missed, and so was the the first person ever to publish them, in 1901. This early edition soon sold out, so a new de-luxe edition was brought out by André Mellerio in 1930, with more historical background, a bibliography and a very thorough commentary on the illustrations used.

The text of this 1930 version of Fabre's invaluable work, which originally appeared in an edition of 500 copies and has remained a standard - though virtually unobtainable - reference book ever since, has been faithfully reproduced in this latest edition. In addition, Jean Richard, who has worked tirelessly for more than 30 years on the Beast and in the creation of the museum devoted to it at Saugues, has added yet more material to the 1930 version, bringing it up to date historically, together with a chronological table of the Beast's victims, and, most notably, a complete bibliography, making this latest edition an essential read.

It constitutes an indispensable body of documentation on the 'beast' and the multifarious theories current today about its true nature. The book is also illustrated with contemporary engravings in black and white and in colour, some of which were not present in the original 1930 edition, together with exhaustive coverage of historical, biographical and documentary detail never previously available in a single volume. It remains the standard reference work on the subject.

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